Face The Music has had a busy and productive spring. Since the last issue of Rollin’ Home, we have continued being a part of McNeil Consumer& Specialty Pharmaceutical’s Transformational Leadership Program (2nd of three sessions – 3rd one, June 14). The program’s director, Valerie Corace shared her comments: “We are partnering with Face The Music to offer an evening activity during the delivery of our customized Transformational Leadership Series. The purpose of the evening is to create a team building activity that would allow participants to air real work issues in a fun, light-hearted way and to break down barriers cross-functionally and between organizational levels. We also wanted to have FUN. These leaders work hard and some evening levity was needed. This all was achieved and more. Participants raved about the activity and loved seeing each other as “human”. Any concerns I had about “would this work…and how will people feel about having to write and perform a song” were completely gone after the first few minutes. It was a perfect complement to our program.”
The McNeil folks were off-the-charts with energy, creativity, and spontaneous expression as they enthusiastically threw themselves into the program with inventive songs, costumes and choreography. The McNeil Management Board surprised attendees with an ad-lib blues about the challenges and breakthroughs the board went through on a recent offsite. The crowd was in a frenzy by the end – it was funny, true, and inspirational.
A group of 200-plus IT professionals from AstraZeneca and their consulting partners from Accenture brought in Face The Music to help them celebrate a significant milestone in a large software implementation project. We met at Delaware Park racetrack where they received hard-earned kudos from their leadership for the work they have put in to make it happen. The groups had “war story” songs about long days and nights, order-in meals, moving target project plans, and the various and sundry challenges of delivering on this complex project. Groups such as The Blind Squirrels (as in: even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while), Dry Run 54 [see picture], and The John Folk Experience (John is one of the team leaders) delivered funny and spirited songs as the event helped align the group for the home stretch of implementation.
We also spent a night at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, VA (our 3rd event there) in April with the health law practice of the law firm, Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. Ninety or so partners and associates were singing the blues… it was quite a sight! I won’t get into lawyer jokes because lawyers don’t think they’re funny, and other people don’t think they’re jokes…Sorry, Amy. The program was high energy with lots of interesting twists and turns, opening with one of the partners lip-syncing to American Idol reject, William Hung’s audition for the show. You had to be there…Amy Simmons, one of the event’s coordinators comments:
”We kept this event a surprise until the attorneys walked into the room. Most of our attorneys were skeptical at first, but that skepticism quickly dissipated. This event was a great teambuilding opportunity for our attorneys. It allowed our partners and associates from various offices to not only work together but to see themselves and each other in a different light. The buzz from the success of the event is still felt.”
We’re just back from Puerto Rico; an event with a Bristol-Myers Squibb HR group. I’ll report more on that next time after I get back some of the
comments from the group. Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all, and it finished off with an impromptu dance party. We had trouble getting out of there.
The Hard Rock Hotel opened up in Chicago on December 31, 2003, and it got its first taste of Face The Music on April 6 when a group from Allstate explored the business blues. After the song performances were over and the last group had hung up their hats, they took on the challenge of looking at the songs they had created, and the processes that they used to write and rehearse the songs to find insights into how they were operating and how they might approach issues with an innovative perspective.
The feedback was very positive, and participants felt that it was a useful exercise. They discussed issues of time management, leadership, how they worked as a team, and IT reliability, among others.
Each team was asked to give a presentation of what they discovered in their discussions. These were a new twist on the corporate presentation! They included a church revival-like appearance by the “Church Of Corporate Blues”; each “brother & sister” testifying to a different aspect of their songwriting process and lyrical content to the hoots of “amen” from the audience. The presentation was fun, but contained real content and insight (accompanied by the FTM band). Another team’s report was a poem that was recited
by one member backed up by the team-humming choir (“Our efforts, though earnest, were rejected by some, we learned that for us it is better to hum!”); apparently referring to their original
performance. One team wrote another song as their report. As long as they were on a roll…
Smokin’ Mama Red (blues name of one of the participants) said that it felt good to do a piece of work and have some fun at the same time. The main idea behind Beyond The Blues programs is to give people an opportunity to use the energy and release of Face The Music to facilitate approaching their work in an innovative, fresh way, and to bring a wider range of their talents to the task at hand. Good job, Allstate!
If your father is Dana Fradon, legendary cartoonist for The New Yorker Magazine, and your mother, Ramona, is a celebrated illustrator of the “Silver Age” of DC and Marvel Comics, what do YOU do? If you are Amy Fradon, you enter upon a long and successful musical career.
Amy has become a bit of a legend in the Americana folk scene. “One of America’s great voices,” says famous Fugster, Ed Sanders.
The Woodstock “darling” has played with everybody who’s anybody in the musician-rich Hudson Valley, from Rick Danko of The Band, to Jay Unger, Molly Mason, John
Sebastian, Lucy Kaplansky and Artie Traum.
After a successful partnership that resulted in songs climbing the charts and a VH-1 video, Amy is firmly entrenched in her solo career with her latest album, Small Time News, garnering excellent reviews everywhere.
Amy is also a sought-after voice coach, helping musician and non-musician alike in “finding” their voices, and is the creator of workshops called The Vocal Visionary Training Program.
Through coaching, Amy has noticed that “people have a need to express who they are and what they’ve done, which always makes Face The Music a positive experience for people. So many times I’ve heard ‘I have no voice’ or ‘I can’t sing,’ and I love encouraging people to get beyond that psychological barrier.”
“Face The Music” sessions are always uplifting,” she adds, “because it’s uplifting to tell the truth with humor, creativity and honesty. I love to see people being brave enough to make themselves vulnerable. After they’ve done it, they’re happy. They feel good.”
“Face the Music was out of this world! What a way to get people out of their normal mindset. I loved it. It was a completely entertaining, creative way to blend
entertainment with fun.”
Laura Whiteis, Field Program Manager Specialty, GE Appliances
“Face the Music is a terrific idea and a great team building exercise. Our people are still talking and laughing about it. It is a very positive way to vent and vocalize frustrations.”
Carol Urban, Conference Planner, FIS
“Face the Music turned out to be everything I had hoped and more. What an outstanding way to kick off our conference. Writing and singing the blues was a great way to begin the change process. Not only did our members have a great time doing it, they opened their minds to new ideas and new levels of risk taking.”
Kate Spiller, VP, New York Association of Health Care Providers
“When I heard we were having an “interactive blues band,” I was a bit apprehensive. But after experiencing Face the Music I would recommend it to anyone. Any day of the week. And twice on Sundays.”
Manny Lucena, Credit Analyst, Panasonic
“What organizational development needs is innovation and Face The Music is it!”
Warner Burke, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Education, Teacher’s College, Columbia University
“Our concern was that the audience wouldn’t buy-in. Not a problem! You engaged them immediately!”